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World Box Office, “Families went back to the movies”

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Are more families finally feeling safer about going back to the cineplexes? The record box office figures of Sonic the Hedgehog 2, pegged at $71 million, the highest weekend debut ever of a video game adaptation movie in the United States and Canada, maybe a promising sign.

Paul Dergarabedian, a veteran box office analyst with Comscore, which offers real-time movie and television services, said to the media, “There has been some indication that families wanted to go back with movies like Sing 2 but it has moved in fits and starts. This says once and for all that families want to go back.

“It is a really good indicator of things to come for family films in 2022 with Lightyear and the next Minions movie.”

Paramount Pictures’ sequel of 2020’s Sonic the Hedgehog is directed again by Jeff Fowler with a voice cast led by Ben Schwartz who returns as the voice of the titular character and a live-action cast headed by Jim Carrey (back as mad scientist Dr. Robotnik), James Marsden and Tika Sumpter who reprise their roles. New additions to the voice cast include Idris Elba, Shemar Moore, and Colleen O’Shaughnessey.

In a twist that may bode well for the post-pandemic recovery of the box office, Sonic the Hedgehog 2 even beat the opening numbers of the first movie. Chris Aronson, Paramount Pictures’ president of domestic distribution, said in a statement, “The normal pattern domestically is that sequels slide a little bit. But we certainly bucked that trend.”

With the continued decline of COVID-19 cases, more families feel comfortable returning to the movie houses. The elimination of the mandatory mask mandate may also make people more relaxed and enjoy moviegoing again as a stress-free experience.

Suffering from a 74 percent decline in ticket revenues, Jared Leto’s Morbius fell to second place with $10.2 million. The critically panned superhero film’s drop is more drastic than those experienced by similar movies.

Moviegoers are still finding their way to The Lost City, which earned $9.1 million and landed third. Sandra Bullock and Channing Tatum’s action-adventure-comedy has amassed $68.8 million after three weeks.

Jake Gyllenhaal’s Ambulance, Michael Bay’s action-crime-drama which was expected to rank second, could only manage a fourth-place finish. With a 68 percent Rotten Tomatoes rating, which is better than the scores of other Bay movies, Ambulance failed to connect with more filmgoers. The film, which also stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Eiza Gonzalez, depicts how two robbers run away with an ambulance after their heist does not go as planned.

With $6.5 million, Robert Pattinson’s The Batman hung on to the top five. In its sixth week, The Caped Crusader’s latest movie outing certainly has legs and has now collected a total of $358.8 million.

Making up the rest of the top ten were, in order, Michelle Yeoh’s Everything Everywhere All at Once, $6.05 million; Uncharted, $2.65 million; Jujutsu Kaisen O, $825,000; Spider-Man: No Way Home, $625,000; and RRR (Rise Roar Revolt), $570,000.

In the international market, Fantastic Beasts: The Secrets of Dumbledore roared ahead of its North American bow. The third installment in the Fantastic Beasts movie franchise, with Eddie Redmayne back as Newt Scamander, is the overseas champ with $58 million.

Directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling and Steve Kloves, Fantastic Beasts 3 also stars Jude Law, Ezra Miller, Mads Mikkelsen, and Katherine Waterston.

But Sonic the Hedgehog 2, thanks to its offshore ticket sales of $37 million, combined with its domestic debut of $71 million, claimed the number one global box office title.

RRR, the epic period action drama directed by Rajamouli that imagines if two revolutionaries had met, became the third biggest Indian movie, global-wise, when it earned $132 million.

Box office action in China, the world’s biggest film market, is still muted since many movie theaters are shuttered due to the spike in COVID cases. However, Fantastic Beasts 3 still managed to make $10 million there.

Looking ahead, box office experts are pinning their hopes on the summer to see if more filmgoers, especially families, will flock back to the cineplexes in pre-pandemic numbers. Analysts cite that what’s significantly different is the availability of more streaming options that could lure many families to stay home.

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